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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 220-225: Zamorano's Signed Letter & Ephemera

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220. ZAMORANO, Agustín J. V. Autograph letter signed, in Spanish, to Ignacio Peralta, Alcalde of San José Guadalupe, ordering that he return to individuals the horses they used in the last campaign and that he arrest or fine Antonio German for usurping his authority by trying to charge the individuals for recovering their mounts. Monterey, California, September 27, 1832. 2 pp., 8vo, on wove paper. Trimmed close at top, creased where folded, integral address leaf with remains of red wax seal and one tear and a void, but neither into text.

    This letter was written by Zamorano, the owner of the first printing equipment in Alta California, and the first California printer. At the time this letter was written, Zamorano was the acting governor of California after the fall of Governor Victoria and after Zamorano had successfully resisted a challenge to his authority by José María Echeandía. This letter gives insight into California’s first printer and sparsely documented politico-military embroilments in Mexican California following Victoria’s fall.
($750-1,500)

Ephemeral Early Zamorano Imprints

A note about sealed paper: The use of officially printed sealed paper was legally required by the Mexican government. Creating a supply of such paper in the far-flung, ill-supplied Mexican provinces such as California and Texas sometimes presented a challenge, leading to improvisations. Following are four examples of sealed paper that were printed by Agustín J. V. Zamorano, California’s first printer, to supply such paper for official use in California. Seemingly lacking both a wood stamp or a proper embossing seal to make the necessary stamped paper, officials in Monterey turned to the expedient of having Zamorano print otherwise blank sheets with the required seal. Imprints of this nature are exceptionally rare, and all of them bear rubrics or signatures of noteworthy Mexican Californians.

221. [ZAMORANO, Agustín J. V. (printer)]. Unused sealed paper commencing: SELLO QUARTO UNA QUARTILLA. | Habilitado provicionalmente por la Comisaria principal provicional de la àlta California para el año de 1831. | Victoria | Bandini. [Monterey, California: Agustín J. V. Zamorano, 1831]. 1 p., folio, on laid paper watermarked Capellads. Creased where folded, but otherwise fine. With printed signatures and ink manuscript parafs of Manuel Victoria and Juan Bandini.


    “The first dated printing in California, Monterey, 1831.... The exciting discovery of the first dated California imprint was announced by John Howell at the April 21, 1931 meeting of the California Historical Society. The earliest example of California printing known previously had been Figueroa’s Proclamation of January 16, 1833. [This sealed paper was] printed on the same Mexican hand press used by Zamorano for the Proclamation” (Howell 50, California 258). Bancroft, California III, pp. 131-239. Fahey, pp. 7-12. Harding, Zamorano, pp. 184-191. See Harding’s plate opposite p. 188 and Fahey plate 3 for this same printing overstruck for 1833 and 1834, noting particularly the first word.
    The sealed paper is rubricated by Manuel Victoria, who assumed governorship of California in 1830 but was forced to resign by a revolution on December 9, 1831, in which Zamorano and Bandini took part. Although well-intentioned, Victoria’s actions angered many citizens. See Bancroft, Pioneer Register (p. 307). The imprint is also rubricated by Juan Bandini (1800-1859), another important Mexican Californian who had a bizarre and checkered career in politics in California and Mexico. A native of Peru and the son of a Spanish sea captain, Bandini became a California ranchero and a leading political and social figure in San Diego and Los Angeles. He had three U.S.-born sons-in-law and supported Stockton’s U.S. battalion only to lose his properties after U.S. occupation. See Bancroft, Pioneer Register (pp. 48-50), and Hart, Companion to California.
($750-1,500)

222. [ZAMORANO, Agustín J. V. (printer)]. PEÑA, Manuel. Autograph manuscript in Spanish signed by Manuel Peña to his commander requesting that he be taken off active duty because of an injury he has suffered. San Francisco, June 20, 1833. 1-1/4 pp., folio, on laid sealed paper for 1831-1832 that has been overprinted for 1833-1834 at top: SELLO CUARTO UNA CUARTILLA. | Habitilado provicionalmente por la Comisaria subalterna interino del puerto de Monterey de | la àlta California, para los años de mil ochocientos treinta y uno y ochocientos treinta y dos. | Rebalidado por a espresada Oficina para los años de 1833 y 1834. Victoria | J. J. Gomez. [Monterey, California: Agustín J. V. Zamorano, 1833]. With ink manuscript parafs of unidentified officials at top, the printed names of Victoria and Gómez having been struck; Victoria’s rubric has been replaced by Figueroa. Present is an indecipherable line of blind type just above the manuscript salutation. Soiled and with uniform light wrinkling. Preserved in a mustard cloth folded case.


    Fahey (pp. 9-11, plate 3) and Harding, Zamorano (pp. 188-189), both illustrate a similar imprint. Here the fourth seal for 1831 and 1832 has been printed and then the paper run through the press again to apply the certification for 1833 and 1834. The original imprint for 1831-1832 is an example of the second generation of this paper, following the 1831 example above. Bancroft, Pioneer Register (p. 280), lists Peña, who was a soldier in the San Francisco company from 1828-1834. José Figueroa had been governor and comandante of Sonora and Sinaloa since 1827, and having been appointed comandante and jefe político of Alta California arrived in Monterey on January 15, 1833. The next day he issued a printed notice of his arrival, the earliest piece of printing known in Alta California except notations on stamped paper, such as those offered here. See Bancroft, Pioneer Register, p. 141 and Hart, Companion to California for more on Figueroa.
($600-1,200)

223. [ZAMORANO, Agustín J. V. (printer)]. ALVA, Manuel. Autograph letter in Spanish signed by Manuel Alva requesting a demission for Francisco Vicente Miramontes due to injuries to his hand. Monterey, August 12, 1835. 1 p., folio, on laid paper watermarked Ben[i]to Picardo. Sealed heading: SELLO CUARTO UNA CUARTILLA. | Habilitado provicionalmente por la Administracion de la Aduana Maritima [text missing] | Alta California, para los años de mil ochocientos treinta y cuatro y mil ochoc[ientos y cinco]. | Figueroa | [A. Ramirez]. [Monterey, California: Agustín J. V. Zamorano, printed July 28 or after, 1834]. Creased where folded, loss at upper right costing some letters, but otherwise very good. With printed signature and ink manuscript rubric of Figueroa (those of A. Ramírez lost).
    This is an early example of Zamorano’s printing on his new Ramage Press using new types from the Boston Type and Stereotype Foundry. According to Fahey, the new press was operating by July 28, 1834 (p. 17). Cf. Howell 50, California 258. Manual Alva (Bancroft, Pioneer Register, p. 32) was a pioneer Mexican surgeon with the California forces who initially became involved in politics but finally at the age of 53 left California for Mexico never to return. Francisco Vicente Miramontes served as a soldier at San Francisco 1828-1837 (see Bancroft, Pioneer Register, p. 249). See preceding entry for more on Figueroa.
($500-1,000)

224. [ZAMORANO, Agustín J. V. (printer)]. Unused sealed paper commencing: SELLO CUARTO UNA CUARTILLA. | Habilitado provicionalmente por la Administracion de la Aduana Maritima [text missing] de la Alta California, para los años de mil ochocientos treinta y cuatro y mil ochocie[ntos y cinco]. | Figueroa | A. Ramirez. [Monterey, California: Agustín J. V. Zamorano, printed July 28 or after, 1834]. 1 p., folio, laid paper watermarked Ben[i]to Picardo. Creased where folded, loss at upper right costing some letters, but otherwise very good. With printed signatures and ink manuscript rubrics of Figueroa and A. Ramírez.
    This is an early example of Zamorano’s printing on his new Ramage Press using new types from the Boston Type and Stereotype Foundry. According to Fahey, the new press was operating by July 28, 1834 (p. 17). Cf. Howell 50, California 258. For more on Figueroa, see item 222. The other rubric is that of Angel Ramírez, former priest and Mexican revolutionary, who was in charge of the Monterey Custom House from 1834 to 1836. Bancroft (Pioneer Register, p. 295) describes him as “an intriguing, vicious fellow.”
($500-1,000)

225. [ZAMORANO PRESS]. MALARÌN, Juan. Autograph manuscript, in Spanish, signed by Juan Malarín to the Minister of Justice and Public Instruction transmitting a report (not present) concerning a survey of Monterey, California, jails. Monterey, November 29, 1843. 1 p., folio, with integral blank on wove paper with letterhead of “Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Departamento de California” at upper left. Right edge lightly creased with one small split, left edge with old fold line and paperclip marks, overall light age toning.

    The printed heading on the stationery of this letter was printed on Zamorano’s Ramage press after his death (d. October 1842). The writer of the letter, Juan Malarín, a native of Peru, was made a lieutenant in the Mexican Navy, settled in Monterey around 1825, became captain of the port, received a grant for the Guadalupe Rancho, and signed the Zamorano pronunciamento of 1832. Here Malarín signs in his capacity as Justice and President of the Superior Tribunal of Monterey. Malarín, a leading citizen of Mexican California, is characterized by Bancroft as “a quiet, unobtrusive man of excellent character and much influence” (Bancroft, Pioneer Register, p. 236).
($300-600)


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